How to get $1,000 for free this month by downloading a savings app

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The Acorns savings app automatically invests your spare change for you.
The Acorns savings app automatically invests your spare change for you.
Image: Acorns

The Acorns app is a great way to build up small savings. It automatically rounds up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invests that spare change for you.

And, if you download the app this month and refer 12 friends, Acorns will give you $1,000. No joke.

How the Acorns savings app works

Acorns Projected Value Chart: The slick interface shows how the money you invest now will grow in the future.
Acorns’ slick interface shows how the money you invest now will grow in the future.
Screenshot: Gabe Trumbo/Cult of Mac

The Acorns savings app allows you to invest in diversified exchange-traded fund portfolios, aka ETFs, just by making your normal everyday purchases.

You can also set recurring deposits into Acorns, starting at only $5 a month, to build up your investments more quickly.

Although a great way to dip your toe in the water of saving and investing, the main knock against Acorns is its $1 monthly service fee.

That’s high compared to other options if you’re only investing a few hundred dollars. (Once you invest more than $5,000 with Acorns, the fee switches to 0.25 percent of assets per year, which falls in line with industry standards.)

However, for many small investors, the ease and simplicity of the app is worth $12 a year.

Yes, you could save a few dollars if you went with a different service, but you also would need to be more disciplined about your saving and investing.

But Acorns is betting that convenience is worth $1 for a lot of people.

Sound too good to be true? BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, just invested in the app.

Plus, Acorns is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which protects investments up to $500,000. Acorns also uses 256-bit encryption to protect the data of its 3 million current account-holders.

How to get Acorns signup bonuses

So, how do you snag that $1,000 Acorns bonus?

When you sign up and make your first deposit, Acorns will automatically add an extra $5 to your account. Then, if you refer 12 friends who sign up for the service by the end of the month, Acorns will give you $1,000.

Already have the Acorns app? What are you waiting for — go start inviting people!

Don’t have the app yet? Sign up here. (Yes, that is my link, and yes, I’m hoping 12 of you sign up for it, but I mean you have to sign up anyway. And with Leander as a boss, you know I’m out here hustling for every cent.)

More Acorns savings through cash-back partnerships

Acorns partnerships can even save you money when you shop.
Acorns can even save you money when you shop.
Photo: bruce mars/Pexels CC

Acorns also has partnerships with other companies to score you even more money.

Never used Lyft before? Sign up through the Acorns app and you’ll get $25 deposited in your account after your first ride. Airbnb will give you $200 if you sign up as a host through Acorns, and Apple Music will give any new subscriber $5.

Acorns also works with many large brands that will give you a percentage back on transactions made through the service. For instance, Expedia will give you 4 percent back to invest; Kay Jewelers will give you back 5 percent.

Fine print of the promotion: Your friends must sign up on or after May 1 and have an account in good standing, with their first investment made by May 31. Referrals who close their account before June 1 or make an investment that results in a chargeback will not qualify for the promotion. Bonuses will be paid out by June 15.

Been wanting to get started with long-term savings and investments but haven’t taken the plunge yet? Downloading the Acorns savings app and referring 12 friends this month would be an incredible start.